It was a fairly big week here at the Hart household. I finally returned to North Carolina from Santa Fe, and I began my brand-new job as the Properties Master at Triad Stage. It’s a great theatre to be working at, and the first time for me to run a department full-time. But enough about me, let’s see what everyone else on the Internet is doing:
Hey, who wants to be Adam Savage’s intern? Right now there’s a contest where you can win just that. Actually, you get to hang out with Adam for a week in his studio, so it’s not that in-depth of an internship, and the process to get there sounds a bit like a reality show in-the-making, but it still seems like a fun idea.
The Closet Geek Podcast has an interview with Bill Doran of Punished Props. Doran builds replica props from video games, comic books and films, and works largely out of his own home, building items for people and companies around the world. The interview delves into how he got started, some of his current projects, and his views on cosplay and fan conventions.
As a gentle reminder to theatre people everywhere: don’t throw away your fake bomb props in a garbage can in a major city. When I was in NYC, I was paranoid just to carry “weapon-like” props around, especially on the subway, where my backpack was routinely searched. I would usually keep stuff like this in a disassembled state, or packaged up so it just looked like I was shopping.
The team behind the film Pacific Rim has a lot of behind-the-scenes videos showing their work. They are all pretty cool, but the one I’m showing below of the cockpit for the giant robots is particularly interesting for props people. The film actually used a lot of practical effects in addition to CGI. It’s really cool to see how they first built a mock-up of the whole thing from foam core, than went through with more sophisticated techniques to build the real thing from the patterns.
Some cosplayers dressed like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. gave a surprise performance to movie goers exiting a showing of Iron Man 3. The costume is basically dark suits and lots of guns, so patrons who weren’t in on the act called the police. Always keep in mind how others may perceive your props when carrying them out in public.
On the flip side of that, an amateur British theatre group found some old grenades to use as props in a show, only to discover they were still live. This story is from three years ago, but it was too interesting not to share.
Make Magazine’s “Workshop Wednesday” continues to provide great information. This week is Ten Tips for Screws and Screwdrivers. The tips are great, except for the ones about which screw head styles are the best (they prefer Torx over Philips). I’ve found screw head styles are almost like religion to some people, and it is practically impossible to make them convert to a different favorite.
Mother’s Day is this Sunday. Bill Tull, the prop master on Conan O’Brian, has some Mother’s Day gift ideas for those on a budget.
Here’s a blast from the past: an Interview with Anna Marchant, who was a prop maker on the two Matrix sequels. It’s a great interview because it really cuts to the heart of what kind of materials she works with, how the prop department interacts with other departments, and all the other day-to-day details that other interviews forego to talk about “cool props” or “what it’s like to work with movie stars”.
Rich Dionne’s latest post is about working together in the theatre. This isn’t just about how a playwright works with a director; this is about collaboration within the production department itself, and how important it is for props, costumes, lighting, sound and scenery to occasionally work together on tasks and not just throw walls up around their individual departments.
Robert Lang does a nice job summing up the advantages of not measuring your work. Relying on measuring devices introduces inaccuracies into your work. Sounds counter-intuitive, right? Check the article out.
Making and finding props for theatre, film, and hobbies